It is kinda funny because you would never know it. In fact, I am a good cook and dare I say I am an even better baker. I enjoy cooking. It is very theraputic for me as well as the food is good. Unfortunately, the time I get off of work compared with the time my family is done with school doesn't go. So most days I don't get to cook. It is a mish mash of leftovers from the weekend, ordered dinner or whatever my guy can throw together.
And I hate it. If there is one thing I dislike about my job it is the hours. They are fairly traditional business hours, not school hours. Of course, I don't mind it while working and it doesn't seem that big of a deal when it is happening. As well, it wouldn't be if my family all got home around that same time. But they don't. So I miss the making of dinner, the homework chaos (although I do request they save some for me sometimes or they save English for me) and practicies. Piano and dance both take place before I leave work or when I am commuting.
I was home with my kiddos for what they knew since they were born. I did work, but they often didn't have a clue I worked and it was just hours at a time. I have always cooked. Other than my pizza weakness, I did all the cooking and it was usually from scratch. I don't really do boxed or frozen boxed food. Not because of a belief or ideal. Because I watched too much food network TV and it was easy.
I have had to rely more in the last 2 years on frozen foods than I care to admit. But with golf season out there and my fall PhD I knew that I needed to find an alternative. My kids are growing tired of the easy usuals. While my guy was sick and just out of surgery friends and family brought up tons of cooked and frozen meals. My eyes were opened to batch cooking or once a month cooking.
Of course, I had heard of it before and never tried it. But I am now. I need something I can do quickly when I get home and that my guy and I can do during the pass of the day from me coming home to him heading to golf course.
To get on with it I tried my hand at it yesterday. I decided to attack just a few things. I could in no way do one month in a day. I am not that skilled. But I could do quite a bit. So I fried 5 lbs of hamburger. I turned that into 6 meals. One round of was italian style and one round was taco meat.
Thank goodness for pinterest and the accessibility to these recipes.
- I made three small but big enough for my family trays of baked spaghetti using Diary of a Recipe Collector's recipe. It smelled and looked amazing and I am so ready for it. I added variations in each tray so that each one would be different. Some were different cheeses and some more meaty.
- Then I made enchilada casserole that I made up the recipe for. I am sure someone else out there has it. I layered tortilla's like lasagna and used cheese and enchilada sauce in the layers with taco meat. I also added a layer of refried beans.
- Then I did two rounds of taco meat. My taco meat is so yummy thanks to KPuff. Who offered up the suggestion to make traditional taco meat and add refried beans. It added protein to it and stretches it out. As well, I love the texture. I love it so much that I miss the beans when they aren't there. I think this frozen meat will be used for tacos (hard/soft) and burritos.
- I froze two rounds of marinated pork chops in our family's favorite marinade of soy sauce (1.5 cups), honey (2 tbsp), freshly ground pepper (1 tsp) and lemon or lime juice (1 tbsp).
- And finally I made one frozen deep dish sausage pizza from yesterday's post
But I don't plan to stop there and I plan to make more this week to stock it up for at least two weeks or a bit more. Today I am focusing on chicken.
- I am going to do a whole bag of chicken. I like to crock pot my chicken in buffalo wing sauce mild sauce. You can change heat preference here. My kiddos like mild. This will eventually be frozen separated into servings. My hope is three meals. Where I will take out portion and then make buffalo chicken quesadillas. My kiddos fav. We just get tortillas and butter or olive oil one side and then we spread out shredded chicken and any kind of cheese you perfer and throw it on a waffle iron. NOM!
- I am going to freeze marinated chicken as well. I feel like for this and the pork that you not buy frozen and just freeze from a thawed state. But that is just my own thinking. With thawed chicken breasts I cover in ranch powder. I plan to add parmesan when it actually bakes with some mayo.
- And a new one for the ol' E homestead is Cheddar Cracker Chicken from What's Cookin, Chicago? Same thing here with chicken where you buy raw chicken and then you would coat as you normally would and then flash freeze and then freeze in a ziplock bag as needed. I am making two rounds today though. One for dinner tonight and one for the freezer. I hope we like it. My kiddos love butter crackers and cheese anything (minus # 1). My only fear is the sodium on this one. Crackers like this have so much sodium. But as with anything I make new I have my kiddos rate it and if we don't like we don't make again.
I think from there I am done fore the week. Although, I will be cooking all week this week since I am on spring break. Therefore, I won't be digging into my stash. If the urge strikes to freeze a meatloaf or hamburgers than I may.
I will keep you updated about how it goes. :)